Liberia: Senate Passes Amended National Road Fund Act

Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney G. Sherman like most of his colleagues, was concerned about the executive session strategy to ensure that the country no longer has any obligation under the agreements.  

The Plenary of the Liberian Senate has passed into law the Restated and Amended National Road Fund Act.

The Act, when concurred by the House of Representatives and approved by the President, will ensure that the 15 Counties directly benefit from finances that are generated from the Road Fund.

The Senate resolved to have the bill passed yesterday, based on a motion proffered by Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Flomo Naatehn, where each senator voted on a “yes and no vote”. 

The main aim of the National Road Fund is to finance the maintenance works on roads and bridges within the perimeter of the Counties. According to the document, there should also be an annual road maintenance program which must be prepared in consultation and collaboration with local government authorities. 

The Act further maintained that in the governance and management of the National Road Fund Act, instead of the Minister of Finance and Development Planning alone as provided for in the original act, the new Act passed by the Senate provides for additional administrative layer for the National Road Fund Committee, which includes the Ministers of Finance and Development Planning, Public Works, Transport, Commerce and Industry and the Manager of the National Road Fund.

Initially, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator H. Varney G. Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County reported on behalf of the Committee to the Plenary of the Senate that the National Road Fund Act has generated in excess of US$20 million annually since its enactment in 2017, but the monies generated have not been applied as the NRFA was intended.

Senator Sherman further proposed to the Senate that the NRFA should be earmarked and dedicated to the maintenance of roads within Counties, which was referred to in the draft Restated and Amended National Road Fund Act as “Intra-County Road Networks”.

The Senate Judiciary Chairman concluded by saying the 0.5% of the corpus of the Road fund shall be allocated and appropriated annually to fund the management and operations of the NRFSC especially getting County Superintendents to attend meetings of the NRFSC.

Following an intensive debate on the legislative instrument, a majority of the Senators present (11) voted that finances from the road fund be evenly distributed to all the 15 Counties, defeating those who opted that larger counties receive higher amounts than their smaller counterparts.

The Act has been forwarded to the House of Representatives for concurrence.